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GV bets on young team behind high school social app HAGS – TechCrunch

As excessive colleges pivot to hybrid fashions and college students see much less in-person face time with pals, the present social app sphere appears to be lacking a option to construct deeper bonds with classmates. HAGS is constructing a social community designed round highschool networks they usually’ve picked up some contemporary funding led by Google’s enterprise arm GV.

The staff is constructing on old fashioned social play centered on fashionable highschool socialization. The primary iteration of their imaginative and prescient was a digital yearbook they rolled out earlier this 12 months which allowed excessive schoolers torn from the final weeks of their college 12 months by the COVID-19 pandemic to go away messages for pals in a digital yearbook, replicating the act of passing across the memento over Snapchat. The staff’s acronymic title “HAGS” refers back to the “have a fantastic summer time” message typically speedily scrawled in a classmate’s yearbook.

The younger founding staff at HAGS is totally distant with CEO Suraya Shivji, 23, her youthful brother Jamil, 18, and co-founder James Dale, 19, constructing out the product. The corporate says that “tens of 1000’s of highschool college students” used the app after its preliminary launch. In the middle of constructing out their app, the staff caught the attention of traders over Twitter and started to roll collectively some early investments.

“Particularly once you’re investing so early, you lean on the staff a lot on the subject of an funding resolution,” GV’s Terri Burns instructed PJDM in an interview. “HAGS is admittedly early and really a lot within the spirit of experimentation.”

HAGS staff, photograph through HAGS.

The HAGS staff ended up pulling collectively a $1 million funding led by GV with participation from BoxGroup and a handful of angel traders. It’s a smaller deal for among the names concerned, however the staff’s product represents a familiarly ripe alternative, delivery social merchandise to teenagers. The HAGS app leverages highschool networks, prompting customers to log into their particular college. The staff has already begun constructing out a community of “ambassadors” at a number of excessive colleges to carry folks into the app.

The app comes throughout an unprecedented interval of upended socializing for top schoolers amid a pandemic, one that would supply extra alternatives for a social app that goals to maintain college students in contact with a broader swatch of their classmates that goes past their core pal group.

The staff kicked issues off with the yearbook constructed onto Snapchat’s Snap Package SDK, however they’re staying open minded about what comes subsequent as they plan for the subsequent characteristic launches inside their app within the coming months. The staff is aiming to develop their utility whereas additionally staying dialed in to the core of their characteristic set.

“We ended up with this concept that the inspiration of every part we do is creating issues which can be enjoyable, and seeing that as a necessity and a primary precept of what we do.” CEO Suraya Shivji tells PJDM. “Now, we’re principally exploring easy methods to take this socially intimate area for a highschool scholar and construct on that.”

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Lucas Matney